The Handshake That Rebooted Kenya’s Economy; another moment of rebirth for Kenya

The Handshake That Rebooted Kenya’s Economy; another moment of rebirth for Kenya

The infamous handshake between President Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga in 2018, coupled with the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative a few months ago are touted to herald a new dispensation for the country.

Since independence, it appears the country has had numerous moments to hit the restart button.

Those familiar with evangelical Christianity will be reminded of the concept of being “born again” during which an individual turns on his past to start living a new life in a relationship with God.

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In 1963, Kenya had her first moment of being “born again” when the nation hoisted the national flag after gaining independence.

But it seems things went haywire immediately after. Less than five years down the line, the relationships among top leaders had gone sour.

The centre ceased to hold and Pio Gama Pinto lay in his driveway brought down by a gunman, one of the first mystery assassinations in Kenya.

Soon, others followed: Tom Mboya, J. M Kariuki and then some. Political temperatures went a notch higher and the first Vice President, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was jettisoned from power. It set in motion the downward spiral from which we have never fully recovered.

There has been no shortage of high tempo moments in Kenyan politics. On the one hand, corruption was beginning to firm up its grip on the country while a gang of leaders were obsessed with the succession agenda planning how to manage the post-Kenyatta era.

In the meantime, all the indicators of development in the country were deteriorating. The Nairobi that had been the envy of many across the world was losing its sheen, fast.

The year 1978 was probably a watershed period with the curtains coming down on the first act of Kenya’s independence.

It was another moment of being “born again”.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta passed on in the quietness of the night and the country miraculously managed a smooth transition to a new presidency, a rarity of Africa those days.

When Daniel Moi took over, it was another moment of rebirth. Once again, Kenya had an opportunity to reset the start button.

The new face at State House heralded new hope and Moi went around the country assuring the nation that he was not going to upset the apple cart, but will fuata nyayo of Kenya’s first independence government.

Moi, then perceived to come from one of the minority communities, carried the hope of many Kenyans who had grown hopeless in the then existing atmosphere where the presidency seemed to be held hostage by well-cultivated regional interests.

But the hoped-for tranquillity was not to be. Again, less than five years into his presidency, the nation was sliding into another dangerous territory.

The attempted coup of 1982 was a low moment in the nation’s history resulting in the loss of many lives. In those days when military coups were the order of the day in the continent, Kenya was not any different.

Kenya never recovered from that attempted coup. President Moi, who emerged at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation to announce that order had been restored in the country, was a wounded man and it would show in his administration.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt. Hon. @RailaOdinga
  during an International Luncheon at Hilton hotel, Washington DC where they both were key speakers.

He trusted those around him less, concentrated power in the hands of a few, detained people irregularly, and the rest is history.

The series of initiatives by the government for another national rebirth was never fully realised until 2002 when the NARC administration headed by Mwai Kibaki came to power and the country announced itself as the most hopeful on the face of the earth.

But old habits die hard and soon, the country was in the trenches again after the disputed outcome of the 2007 general elections. Kenya got “born again” with the 2010 Constitution, but it is obvious that with every step the country makes, there are many distractions and those steps are never steady.

So here we are, with Handshake and BBI, another moment to be born again. UhuRaila have shown all signs that they are faithful to keep their promise, to never again fall back to the old bad habits. All Kenyans should join them too.

Former US President Bill Clinton, while running for Presidency in 1992, is said to have popularised the slogan: “It is the economy, fool.”

The magic handshake between opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta may not have been viewed by many as an economic move, but it may just turn out to be the one that got businesses off the ground.

“International goodwill and foreign policy are benchmarked political stability,” says Dr Scholastica Odhiambo, an Economics lecturer at Maseno University.

For President Uhuru and the technocrats around him, they realised that running a modern economy is complex and even when all other key economic variables remain unbroken, psychology and perception played a bigger part in the unfolding economic rot.

Insiders who are familiar with the deal say fixing these twin problems has been Uhuru’s administration’s biggest headache which needed to be addressed urgently.

“The benefits of the new deal outweigh its cost,” noted an insider who declined to be named.

What has been very clear to Uhuru’s administration is that, economic revival requires more than the strict round of belt-tightening or the suggested austerity measures.

However, there are those who think “politics of Kenya should remain as has been and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.” 

This school of thought still thinks along ethnic lines and defines the State as an arena of ethnic contestation when people take turns to share the spoils or the cake. This school of thought considers political corruption as a norm, and the winner regardless of whom, he or she wins, takes all.

The swamp must be drained; War against corruption must be won

The swamp must be drained; War against corruption must be won

It never ceases to amaze me, the complexities involved in Kenya’s politics.

Never mind the reality that politics in Kenya is completely intertwined with everyday life, but the deeply rooted belief system where certain individuals acquire almost godlike reverence from their supporters, baffles me. And when the reaction is hate, it is a total hatred that can spark off a civil war, if not carefully managed by brink men masterminds who litter either side of the political divide.

But what intrigues me most about politics in Kenya is the behind the scenes wars fought from one election cycle to the next.

There are almost always two forces behind these wars: sustaining corruption networks and selecting a winning candidate for the next election.

In Kenya, like most nations around the world, diversionary tactics are used to distract the collective national attention from a serious issue.

Right now there is a serious effort mounted by President Kenyatta to develop the regions while combating historic corruption. Many casual observers say that this campaign against corruption is widening a rift between the President and his Deputy, William Ruto, who has been adversely mentioned in several newspapers and tabloids as a corruption czar.

However, this ongoing push by Kenyatta is likely to see many of the old guard involved in corruption exposed or out in the cold by the time the next elections come around. So they have begun election-mongering early and by doing so, united themselves against the President on just about every issue.

A few years ago, the expression ‘kutanga tanga’ was introduced to political speak by President Kenyatta.

It was a coded reference to DP William Ruto who was at the time touring the country in a campaign mood. The word itself means to aimlessly wander about and it displayed perfectly that while the President was focusing on development (he was issuing title deeds to disenfranchised local residents at the time), other politicians were focusing on the wrong agenda for the time since the next election is 4 years off.

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Legislators affiliated to Tangatanga faction of Jubilee Photo/Courtesy

So what do the Tanga tanga politicians really want?

The first aim is to discredit President Kenyatta in his own Mt. Kenya backyard. It is no secret in Kenya that the region overwhelmingly supports the President and any open opposition to him could be politically suicidal for anyone in the region. The main thrust of this plan is to blame the President for the apparent lack of development in the region. Like any other pedestrian observer, I was shocked to be told that the area is barely developed. But yesterday afternoon, I sat with a friend of mine, Wairuri wa Mwaniki, who shed some light on this propaganda.

Ever since Kenyatta took office, Mt. Kenya region has received over Ksh. 174 Billion earmarked for development projects. These include roads, dams, irrigation, electricity connection, hospitals and schools. The region is more developed than Western Kenya and the North Eastern region combined. Kiambu County alone has more kilometers of tarmacked roads (1,385) than the entirety of Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga combined (700 for all Western Kenya Counties). There are 1,145 primary schools in Kiambu to 289 primary schools in the entire North Eastern region. There are more hospitals in Central Kenya than you can find in the Rift Valley region.

Deputy President William Ruto and former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu during Waititu's daughter wedding in Kiambu in July 2019

Deputy President William Ruto and former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu during Waititu’s daughter’s wedding in Kiambu in July 2019 Photo/Courtesy

So it is not that the region is not developed. Central Kenya is so grossly over-developed compared to the rest of Kenya that an examination of the facts and figures makes you appreciate the conscious effort made by President Kenyatta to fast-track development of the rest of the country.

This is just a symptom of a silent war. This war is being waged not in the Kenyan Parliament where it can be muted easily by fact, but in Tanga tanga territory; public rallies, funerals and fund raisers. The speakers at these events are familiar faces including Moses Kuria and Kimani Ngunjiri. They will almost always be in the company of DP William Ruto and the bossom topic will be, the 2022 election (the distraction) and the launch of a mundane project which will scarcely be remembered by the press in a week’s time.

A cursory glance of the headlines reveals that these MPs have launched 68 ‘development projects’ in 2018, all of which have vanished into thin air at the time of writing this.

The projects of course are a smoke screen. It is common knowledge that William Ruto will be a tough sell to Central Kenya but it is also calculated that by securing him as a president, those who will have aided his rise will be allowed special favors in the new administration.

More often than not, these new favors are linked to protecting corruption empires which have been under the spot light, thanks to President Kenyatta’s war on corruption.

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Kenyans are not the political ignoramuses of a decade ago where anything said by a local mheshimiwa was gospel truth. A majority of Kenyans actually know that the push for local development comes from local leadership and the devolved government system.

The real ‘washenzi’ are the leaders who politick without a development track record and are like a guardian, protecting the corrupt.

While an unoccupied minority screams on social media, it would be a good time to keep your eyes on the bigger picture. Kenyan drug dealers have fingered the judiciary as complicit in the drug trade in Africa; mega-corruption cases are working their way through the court system (and threaten to take down some well-connected politicians, some of whom are Tanga tanga members). One Governor has already been impeached and two others are in the out-tray.

Conspiracy is taking shape to cripple investigations carried out by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on these Governors’ cases.

Legislators allied to Ruto’s Tanga tanga faction are hell bent to protect the corrupt lawmakers with threats to impeach the President, a task which is equivalent to an exercise in futility.

The swamp must be drained

Revelations: Did DP Ruto hire Miguna Miguna to script Alice Wahome’s attack on Uhuru?

Revelations: Did DP Ruto hire Miguna Miguna to script Alice Wahome’s attack on Uhuru?

Fascinating to feminists, abhorrent to her opponents and player of the populist wave, Wahome seems to have mastered the game of controversy and this props her as a better candidate during the electioneering period. This is what got her the top seat at the  Tangatanga’s Inua Mama Initiative.

People have questioned the sudden change of tune and the tactics she is using to question Uhuru, including the speech she gave during the burial of former Nairobi Mayor, Charles Rubia.

The economy remains the main plank of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto’s pivot to Mount Kenya in a scorched earth strategy to win the Presidency in 2022.

“The biggest existential (sic) threat to Kenya’s declining economy and democracy … is Uhuru Kenyatta,” Kandara MP Alice Wahome.

Undoubtedly, this is so far the boldest, most radicalized, systematic and scathing attack by the Ruto camp on President Uhuru Kenyatta. But the broadside also raises fundamental questions on the moral disposition, intellectual and professional capacity of segments of the current crop of Mount Kenya leaders to conceive and implement a redemptive vision of development.

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Hon. Alice Wahome who appeared nervous and seemed to be reading word by word from a script during the media presser while on holiday in Malindi  PHOTO/COURTESY

The trouble with Kenya’s development is that it is everywhere under the sway and attack from idiots and tribalists who have either silenced the citizens or reduced them to cheering crowds.

The government-as-economic-threat idiom is about power in 2022, not the genuine emancipation of the citizens.

Three events set the larger context for this rhetorical blame-game on development.

First, is a social media war on the eve of the burial of the pro-democracy icon Charles Rubia in Murang’a County on December 30, 2019. The cyberwar started with a post carrying an unsightly image of the “status of toilets at Karigu-ini Primary School in Kandara Constituency, represented by Alice Wahome.” Wahome responded with a controversial ‘Wanjinga’ tweet which landed her in trouble and thrust to the fore the failure of Africa’s emergent elite to steer community development.

Second, are the domino and double-barreled impacts of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report on the 2022 succession politics. But the lightning rod came from a media interview by the former Jubilee Party vice-chairman David Murathe, who stated that Uhuru will remain in power after 2022 polls.

The gist of Murathe’s personal opinion was two-fold; once the new political dispensation envisaged in the BBI report comes into force, nothing will stop the President, as the leader of Jubilee, to vie for any post and head the government as the Executive Prime Minister as long as he wins the majority.

 “The only thing the President can’t do is to run for Presidency,” he said.

Party leadership and a broad-based national coalition will potentially ensure that Kenyatta does not disappear into political oblivion but remain a political kingpin in the Mount Kenya region and at the national level after the 2022 polls. With this, Murathe sounded the death knell for the governing Kalenjin-Kikuyu détente, and spelt doom for Ruto’s ambition as heir to Kenyatta in the Mount Kenya politics.

Expectedly, Wahome, as the vocal voice of Ruto’s Mount Kenya brigade, came from Rubia’s burial, guns blazing.

Kenyatta should retire and go home upon the expiry of his term, she said, alleging that the President and Odinga were planning to use BBI to change the Constitution and cling onto power after 2022.

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This debacle reveals that the road to 2022 will be marked by wars of charlatans, defined in politics as a public figure who acts in a disreputable, unethical, rogue-like or unscrupulous way to influence the direction of politics.

So far, Wahome has taken charlatan politics within the Jubilee Party to a whole new level.

Miguna Miguna, once a loyal charlatan for Odinga and now a self-proclaimed general of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and his fiercest critic, seems to be finding a new home in the radicalised wing of the Ruto camp.

Besides welcoming Wahome to “the Revolutionary camp”, the language she used has the uncanny finger marks of Miguna’s post-2017 revolutionary rhetoric, raising questions as to whether the Kenyan-Canadian lawyer is the new spinner-at-large for the Ruto camp.

Beyond charlatanism, the gospel of dependency on the government and handouts by political Santa Clauses cannot develop communities. The future of development rests with an empowered citizen.

Miguna Miguna who was first deported in February 2018, days after his arrest over his role in the mock swearing-in of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga on January 30, 2018, will coincidentally jet in tomorrow, 7th January.

The self-declared National Resistance Movement (NRM) leader on Sunday posted photos of his trip at a Canadian airport. Also the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, under Dr. Fred Matiang’i, has affirmed lawyer Miguna Miguna’s entry into the country.

Through an official press statement, the department of immigration, under Matiang’i’s ministry, has said that it will comply with court orders issued on December 14, 2018, which prompted the government to ensure Miguna’s return into the country.

A revolution is a sure pathway for Kenya’s destruction

A revolution is a sure pathway for Kenya’s destruction

The bitter taste of hell probably? Kenyans must think critically and with sanity of what a revolution means to their dear lives. Are Kenyans yearning for violence? Is that the direction they would wish to take? Do we want to throw the 56 years of independence we have enjoyed as a country? Do we want to throw the development and growth we have experienced. The honour and dignity we have received as a major African country?

The taste of freedom is sweet and unending, the taste of freedom recognizes the rights and privileges of the people. The taste of freedom has enabled us to gain a new standing and status as a country through the promulgation of the new constitution. Power and resources have been brought closer to us and though we do have challenges the country has gained accolades as a major business hub, a strategic tourist destination and heading towards becoming a middle-income economy.

Do we want to throw it all away for war and suffering? Do we want the country to sink into a war-tone nation? Do we want a new Somalia from Kenya? A state of anarchy and lawlessness? A revolution means an unstable country. A revolution means we forget about our schools and hospitals whether leaning on the private or public side, a revolution translates to chaos and confusion with no authority in control. That is what some lost Kenyans are calling for because they do not understand the gravity of the cost of a revolution.

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Is violence the answer?

The recent wave of countries in the Middle East and North Africa which chose to go down this path have now turned into inhabitable war-tone areas with the inhabitants fleeing where the opportunity besets itself. Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain have become known for the suffering of women, children and men who have done all they can to try and protect their loved ones. Buildings are either in shambles full of bullets on the walls or purely rabble, roads have become impassible with most destroyed from bombing. Electricity is a rare commodity as the infrastructure is destroyed. Clean water and food is nowhere to be found as most of these countries are dependent on relief food. Despite them being oil-rich countries they have firmly lost their economic status and have not been able to regain control of the economy. Rebels, militias and a struggling government is fighting for power and resources as the people continue to endlessly suffer.

Considering our current status as a country in terms of development, a revolution would be sure death sentence for the country called Kenya. The Post Election Violence was enough to show us the essence of peace and stability, something many Kenyans take for granted with some singing and embarking on empty talk of a revolution yet they do not realize that they are calling for a destruction of their lives, families, children, property, infrastructure, employment among other things. Additionally, a revolution would result in a scramble by developed countries for a share of the countries resources as it is happening in Libya and Egypt. Remember a sustained war is fertile ground for theft and manipulation for others to gain what is not theirs.

As we gather around for Christmas, we must not take for granted the peace , stability and security we are enjoying as country with the government guaranteeing safety and security as people visit different regions of the country. We already have threats from the Al-Shabaab and the government does make arrangements to ensure Kenyans are safe especially in the Coastal towns and many entertainment spots. Do we really want to be in state where gangs, militia, rebels and the Al- Shabaab call the shots? A state where we cannot enjoy any morning shows on our way to work, no running media, no traders, no hawkers, no noisy matatus or even supermarkets. The taste and value of freedom cannot be thrown down the drain because of a few senseless mindsets who want to destroy the country. Let us be sober and stay sober as a country!

Let us shun calls for a revolution.

 

William Ruto: Political opportunism gone overboard

William Ruto: Political opportunism gone overboard

That DP Ruto is a political child of former dictator Daniel arap Moi who came into prominence in 1992 as Treasurer of Youth for KANU 92 (YK92) is no secret. KANU 92 was a marauding and gangster-like lobby group that was set up by KANU to drum support for the re-election of Moi at a time when he was very unpopular.

After Moi was installed as President following the 1997 elections, Youth for KANU 92 became irrelevant and Ruto became politically unemployed. It is at this point that the son of Eldoret plunged into electoral politics eventually emerging as the winner of the Eldoret North Parliamentary seat. Ruto had no problem capturing his seat because he had the support of President Moi whom, as President of the Republic, called the shots in the wider Rift Valley Province dominated by members of Moi’s Kalenjin ethnic group.

The real political profile of the real Ruto emerges after his election to Parliament on a KANU ticket both in December 1997 and December 2002.

After Raila opted for a political pact with Moi when he (Raila) failed to become President in the 1997 election, and after Raila fused his National Development Party (NDP) with KANU to form the New KANU, Ruto supported the move because this was not just politically expedient but because Ruto had to support anything Moi said since Moi was the kingmaker in Rift Valley.  As soon as it became clear that Moi had other ideas that were represented by “Project Uhuru,” Ruto became one of the most ardent opponents of Raila Odinga in his quest for the Presidency because Ruto was dancing to the tunes of Moi and other senior Kalenjin politicians such as Nicholas Biwott.

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Ruto was among KANU sycophants who once created great anxiety to the Kenyan nation by making a public declaration that it was fine for Moi to rule Kenya for the next one hundred years.

At a fundraiser for Kaiti Educational Fund in June 2000, Ruto was quoted in The Daily Nation saying that “As far as President Moi’s retirement is concerned, it is up to those who voted for him to decide. Right now, we are still okay with him going on even for another 100 years.”(288)

Ethnicity and loyalty to key political personalities are among the factors that most influence voting patterns. If, for instance, Kenyatta and Odinga were to campaign together for constitutional amendments, it is likely that they could generate substantial support for the changes they desire.

In the current political environment, only an opposition movement led by Ruto could hope to match their influence. It would be somewhat reminiscent of the 2010 constitutional referendum, which pitted Ruto on the “no” side against Kibaki (then president) and Odinga on the “yes” side.

One of the most impotent – and ironically important – positions in the structure of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution is the Office of Deputy President.

The number two office in terms of State hierarchy sounds powerful but is in actual fact just imposing.

The President can render the Deputy President insignificant – utterly ceremonial – at his own pleasure.

Under previous constitutions, the Vice President – as the principal deputy to the President was then called – served at the mercy of the President. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the Burning Spear himself, fired a couple of deputies in his day. But it was President Daniel arap Moi who perfected the art of swinging the axe to guillotine his vice presidents. Mr. Moi was so ruthless that without the courtesy of forewarning, he once fired a deputy through the one o’clock news on Voice of Kenya radio. Mr. Moi was such a practiced serial sacker that he changed his deputies like dirty shirts.

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Kenyans were so fed up with Mr. Moi’s imperial powers that they decided to protect the Office of the Vice President from presidential whimsical fancies.

That’s why the 2010 Constitution doesn’t give the President any leeway to fire the Deputy President. In Article 150 of the Constitution, the DP’s job security and tenure are fully insulated from the President. Although the DP is picked as a running mate by the President – and they run as a ticket – that’s the extent of the latter’s powers with respect to the security of tenure of the former. The DP can be removed for physical or incapacity and by impeachment but not by the President.

Why am I spelling out? Unless you live in a cave, by now you know Mr. Kenyatta has had it with Mr. Ruto. If it was a marriage, Mr. Kenyatta would’ve divorced his deputy with a snap of the fingers. Mr. Kenyatta has all but told his deputy to go jump into a lake.

That’s because Mr. Ruto has defiantly refused to shelf his burning ambition to replace his boss. If it were up to Mr. Ruto, he would leave Mr. Kenyatta no room to build his own legacy. Mr. Kenyatta has openly told his deputy and his sycophants off but to no avail. Instead, they’ve told Mr. Kenyatta to resign if he won’t guarantee Mr. Ruto an endorsement.

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Finally, the chicken have come home to roost. Mr. Kenyatta can’t contain his anger any longer. Uhuru told Mr. Ruto to his face at the annual commemoration of Mzee Kenyatta’s death that the narrative pitting “dynasties” against “hustlers” won’t make him President!

Soon thereafter, Mr. Kenyatta gave Interior CS Fred Matiang’i even more powers. Mr. Matiang’i now oversees not only the Big Four agenda but effectively coordinates the daily running of Government. Mr. Matiang’i is a de facto Prime Minister in all but name.

What Mr. Kenyatta has done is very clever. He’s neutered his DP since he can’t sack him. Mr. Kenyatta knows the Office of DP is an empty vessel.

The Constitution doesn’t give the DP enumerated powers, except that he is the President’s “principal assistant”. That’s an innocuous title devoid of any powers except those delegated to by the President. Only upon a vacancy, temporary absence, or incapacity in the Office of the President does the DP become important. In those cases, the DP can either act as President or assume the Office of President. Otherwise, the President can turn the DP into a flower girl, or expensive china that gathers dust in the proverbial cabinet.

What Mr. Kenyatta has done is to respect the black letter law regarding the DP but cannibalised its spirit by making Mr. Matiang’i in effect his “principal assistant”. This single stone kills several birds. It cuts Mr. Ruto to size and denies him the ability to market his candidacy.

His duties have been assumed by Mr. Matiang’i. Secondly, it allows Mr. Kenyatta to retake control of Government and his legacy.

They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Mr. Ruto has fallen hard from his days as “Co-President”. The chickens have come home to roost!

Speaking on Wednesday, 4th December 2019 in Kiambu County, a visibly angry President Kenyatta called out the leaders, most of whom are allied to Deputy President William Ruto, saying they lack a sense of direction.

“There comes a point where we say enough is enough and we are tired! Before we released the report, they were all over for a month lecturing us about things. Now the report is out and they have taken another direction. These are people who do not know where they are headed,” said Kenyatta.

In the off-the-cuff speech made in his native Kikuyu language, the President sounded a warning to the political leaders seen to be undermining his quest to have the BBI report successfully implemented.

Those who have known the President over the years will tell you this is the real Uhuru Kenyatta. A firm, steadfast, yet reflective personality. Under that easygoing personality lies a man of steel, the Burning Spear

REVELATIONS: Why Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru can never be married as a first wife

REVELATIONS: Why Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru can never be married as a first wife

Almost everywhere in Africa, there exist urban legends about femme-fatales; devastatingly beautiful women who ultimately bring disaster to men who get involved with them romantically.

In Nigeria, for instance, Author Elechi Amadi wrote about it in his novel The Concubine. In the book, Ihuoma is described as a stunning beauty worth dying for (pardon the pun). Men pant for her and fell over themselves, desperately trying to marry her. Unfortunately, all who got involved with her died under unclear circumstances.

Close home, among the Agikuyu community, for instance, some women from ethaga clan, are believed to be femme-fatales. Locals refer to them as gitune — Kikuyu word for a red spot or atumia a chiero ndune, which loosely translates to women with red thigh.

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Folklore has it that these alleged ‘sexual vampires’, despite being very beautiful and charming, are dogged with a ‘curse’ of sorts. They have a jinxed background, and it’s believed any man who marries or sires children with them dies mysteriously or tragically.

So dreaded are these women that recently, a village tycoon in Kerugoya left locals astonished when he reportedly offered a woman with the ‘red thigh’ he had impregnated a piece of land worth half a million shillings and Sh20,000 cash as inducement to abort, after a little bird whispered to him that she hails from the dreaded ethaga clan so as to prevent his imminent death!

Sexual vampires

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In Laikipia County, a tale is told of a certain Nyokabi. Her first husband reportedly died after he was gored by a raging bull. She got married to another who was later abducted, only for his corpse to be dumped by the road side in a rural outpost.

Interestingly, she never gave up; she still got married. Unfortunately, all her subsequent three husbands died under unclear circumstances.

In Kiriaini, a small market tucked somewhere in Othaya constituency, Murang’a County, a woman surnamed Muthoni is a marked ‘sexual vampire’. It’s alleged she has the infamous ‘red thigh’ and rumoured to have ‘killed’ many men. Locals discuss her in hushed tones.

That she is ‘hot’ further complicates the matter. “Those women are lethal. You touch her, and you are a goner!” avers Githinji, a friend to one of these writers. He goes on to give Muthoni’s account and how her four husbands died mysteriously.

Betty, a business lady in Kiambu Town, says she knows one such a woman

— a retired barmaid. “Men were warned against her. She was very beautiful and men used to fight over her during her heyday. Unfortunately, all those who get romantically involved with her die.

She is now old and men are no longer interested,” says Betty. “I personally know two men, involved with her, who died in tragic road accidents,” she adds.

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Erastus Njuguna, a welder in Bahati, Nakuru County, says he knows of one such woman. “She had been married twice with both of her husbands dying mysteriously. Each did not last a year in the union before meeting his unfortunate end,” he says. The woman, he adds, was warned against getting married again by her parents as she was a ‘husband killer’.

When word leaked out that she was a gitune, men now shun her. “To save face and escape shame, she relocated from the village with her whereabouts now unknown,” says Njuguna.

However, it is understood that for these jinxed to survive in a marriage set up, they MUST NEVER be married as the first wife. They can only be married as a second or a third wife. Others will prefer not be married but they will be careful not to have children with men who are not married.

This unfortunately is the fate of one Hon Cate Waruguru who is married as a second wife to a prominent Kalenjin man from Kericho.

It was after she lost her third fiancé in a mysterious way she sought help from her local pastor who in turn referred her to her renown traditionalist. After several sessions with the elderly woman, it was revealed that Cate Waruguru is from the jinxed ethaga clan. She almost went into a depression but with help of family and friends she accepted her situation and vowed never to marry from her clan.

The Laikipia queen shot to limelight after she had apparently been sent out of a Kericho hotel for failing to produce a marriage certificate. Later, Waruguru would come out to defend herself claiming her traditional wedding to William Kiget was witnessed by elders and could not understand the sort of document the hotel wanted.

Despite all the drama, one thing we cannot deny is the fact that the Laikipia MP is one gifted with beautiful looks and she knows how to perfectly flaunt her curvaceous body.

Recently she was on spot after she in an unprecedented move attacked Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru, using derogatory remarks and expressing concerns over the governor’s failure to conceive after her recent wedding.

Speaking on in public, Waruguru slammed the governor, telling her to focus on making babies.

“Iko kamama kengine hapa ameolewa juzi. Hata tumbo ya kwanza haijatupatia mtoto lakini anafikiria ile kitu kubwa atazaa ati ni kutuzalia BBI (There is a lady around this place who got married the other day. We are yet to see a child after her marriage yet she thinks the greatest thing she can give birth to is BBI.)” Waruguru said.